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WINDOWS TO LIBERIA

Liberia - a small country in the western part of Africa with a population of just over 4.5 million. It differs from European countries in many respects, including there are only two seasons: dry and rainy. Our employee, Radosław Szczęsny, will set off on a mission in July to help on the spot and teach computer science at the same time. It will also purchase the necessary equipment.

From the left: Radek and Kuba

Let’s start from the beginning, i.e. how did it happen that the idea of ​​going on a mission came about? 

We operate in the missionary volunteering program “Młodzi świat” which has been operating in Wrocław for over 10 years. It is responsible for helping outposts and preparing people to go on missions. Throughout history, we managed to send over 60 people, which is a very nice result. The entire preparation process takes 2 years. During this time, we gain the necessary experience and learn about the countries to which we are to go. We get to know these institutions. HERE we are not talking only about Africa, because our auxiliary facilities will find, for example, in Asia ( Mongolia and , Indi s). There is one facility in Brazil, so there are a lot of these places. I have been working with the Salesians since I was a child. First I went to the oratory, then I became an animator and somewhere further it turned into such a greater willingness to help. Let us not hide that we are doing very well in Poland. We live well, even during the coronavirus. However, there are countries that are more disadvantaged. They don’t have such possibilities, so that’s why the idea is to fly and give something back.

Why Liberia? Did you suggest this place?

It looks like we, as volunteers, fill out an application for a mission and in this application we can write where we would like to fly. However, in the end, we agree to where we fly because it is chosen by management. Honestly, it doesn’t matter to me whether I fly to Liberia or Brazil. Everywhere in these countries need help and that is why I am very glad that I’m going on my s IT. I will try to do my best. Whether Liberia, Brazil or other such places are countries that have much worse living conditions than we do, so they need help everywhere.

You are definitely prepared with the knowledge of the country you are going to. Can you tell us more about the place you are going to? 

Liberia has a very beautiful history. It is a country founded by slaves from America who went there. Therefore, their flag is very similar to the American flag. How they are doing today is amazing. Until recently Liberia suffered from a very large scourge of Ebola, which severely devastated the country. Also 2 civil wars that took place a dozen or so years ago . And the fact that Liberia is still developing well after all, and that it is also one of the better-developing African countries, is amazing to me. Nevertheless, the living conditions, these standards, are very limited. To illustrate for us as people who work in the IT industry: there 20 GB package with internet of that costs $ 40. For comparison, the teacher’s salary ranges from $ 60 to $ 80 a month, so what are the small salaries if we take this conversion rate, and how hard life is there. This is just one example in terms of IT, and in the Drinking Tap I go to, there is not even any store. There, once a week, on Wednesdays, there is a market where people gather and sell what they have collected with their own hands.  Speaking of Tap drinking , it is a small town with 10,000 inhabitants situated in the bush. It consists only of tiny houses in the middle of the forest. 

Can anyone fly to Liberia? What are the legal restrictions, vaccines to be able to go to this country? 

There are visas. This is probably the biggest legal restriction. Of course, we must also remember about vaccinations. It is known that we are going to Africa. There are many diseases for which you need to vaccinate, so we also have something like this before departure. Now it is also very important to monitor the spread of the coronavirus, because, however, the scale of the disease results in the imposition or loosening of warnings. In our country in Europe, we have a lot of prohibitions and orders related to Covid. There are not so many restrictions in Africa, so to be honest, it is easier to fly to Liberia than to come back.   

To Liber and you’re not going empty-handed. what are you taking with you?  

What is important in our project is the additional purchase of equipment for Tap pi you, because we will be there together with Kuba, the volunteer with whom I am leaving, to teach children about computer science. At the moment, there are three working computers in Tap Five , and some classes have 45 people. It is easy to calculate that one computer is used by 15 people. With us it is unimaginable because some people have two or three computers for one person. What is very important to us is collecting money for the purchase of equipment. Due to the customs duty, we will not be able to transport 10 laptops. Rather, we plan to take two laptops per person, and we want to buy the rest of the laptops. We do not want to do any collection of used equipment because we should also remember that in Poland we have IT services every now and then that will help us fix the computer. I also often have some knowledge myself and we are able to restore some broken functions. In Africa, they don’t know as much about computers, about repairing them, and about maintaining them as we do. Therefore, we would like to buy in the capital Monr ovii , to which we will go just at the very beginning, laptops. Thanks to this, the computers will be under warranty and even if they break, it will be easier to repair them on the spot, despite the fact that Tap p ta and the capital are 8 hours away. Undoubtedly, the purchase of such equipment is already a great help for these people, because thanks to this they will have access to information.           

What can we make a real contribution to the purchase of laptops on the other side of the world?

Together with Kuba we have a fanpage on Facebook “Windows to Liberia”, because that’s the name of our project. On the one hand, Windows from the English language is a window to Liberia, on the other hand, almost everyone associates Windows with a computer because it is a type of software. We have a screenshot created there that you can contribute to. In addition, our Salesian missionary volunteering also has the option of donating for a given purpose on its website, which I also strongly encourage.   

When exactly are you planning your trip? 

We fly in at the end of July and come back in early September. It is a month and a half of work and help. Of course, COVID is a threat and we also take that into account.

Are you just, humanly, a bit afraid of this outlet? However, it is the other end of the world, a different culture, and you can never be sure what will happen to us.  

Fear is always there and we have to say it openly, which is why I also pray for it, but on the other hand, very strongly and maybe even more dominant is the willingness to help that combats this fear. I know that I have a good life, a lot of good things have happened to me and it is worth sharing it with those who are not so lucky. I know it will be hard, you know, because these will not be the same conditions as in Poland. The most beautiful thing about it is that to be a volunteer all you need is a willingness to help. We don’t always have to go on a mission. Sometimes, and even more, financial help is needed. We also ask you for this help and encourage you to support our departure.

 

Warsaw, April, 30, 2021, RITS Press Office

 

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